The suggestion that some forest fires should be allowed or even encouraged to burn in the large national and provincial parks is bound to evoke a wide range of reactions. For decades the forest authorities across Canada have spared no effort to convince people that forest fires are bad, should not be started, and should be put out as quickly as possible. Up to a point, this is as it should be, and nothing in this article should be construed as excuse for any citizen to relax his care with fire in the woods. Nevertheless, during the past few years certain cracks in this simple facade have begun to show. It has in fact become respectable in forestry circles to say that forest fires are not all bad, and that fire has a place in the natural forest scene. If this is so, then the implications for forest fire policy are important enough for the nation as a whole, but are especially far-reaching for the large parks, which are dedicated in varying degrees to preserving their forest ecosystems in a natural a state as possible.